Why is My Printer Offline – Guide [Simple FIX & Solution]


Are you here because you are trying to print something out and your printer shows as Offline? Well, we’ve all been there and this is a very common problem every printer user faces.

There could be several reasons why your printer is offline. So, without any further delay, let’s try these troubleshooting methods to get your printer working.

Reasons for an offline printer and how to fix them

1. System glitch – restart option

It’s quite simple and most of the time it does help so the first thing you need to do is to shut down your computer. Don’t do a restart, click on Shut Down in the menu.

While this is happening, you need to power off your printer as well. This can be done by pressing the Power button on your printer.

Once your system and printer have been shut down, we recommend you to wait for a few seconds before turning them back on. Recheck your printer status now. Most of the time this solves the problem but if it doesn’t you can try the next step listed below.

2. Loose cables – check all ports

Over time printer cables tend to become loose or accumulate dust. This can cause them to malfunction and not show up on your system. If the first step doesn’t work, then we recommend you try this.

Switch off your printer by pressing the Power button on it. Now switch off the power supply as well. At the back of the printer, you will see a cable that connects to the computer system as well.

Gently take out this cable from both ends and clean it with a dry cloth. See if there is any dust in the slots on your systems. If yes, clean it with a dry cloth as well and then connect the cable properly to ensure that it isn’t loose.

Turn on the printer power supply and switch on your printer by pressing the Power button. See if it works!

If you are using a wireless printer, then you must first check if your internet is working or not. If there is any problem with your network connection then the printer can go offline.

3. Unknown System Issue – run a troubleshoot

If the above-mentioned steps have been performed and your print is still offline, then you will need to run the Printer Troubleshooter. To do this, open Windows Settings. In this window, you will see an option for Devices. Click on it.

Click on Devices and on the new page you will see an option for Printers & Scanners.

Select that and you should see your printer listed there. Click on the printer name now.

Click on Manage and on the next screen, you will see a ‘Run the troubleshooter’ option highlighted below. This is the way to run troubleshooting. Click on it and let the process start.

The troubleshooting will begin automatically and can take a couple of minutes to see if there are any printer issues that it can detect. If it can, follow the instructions laid out on the screen. If the system isn’t able to fix the issue, it will let you know.

4. The ‘Use Printer Offline’ option

This is another way to get your printer online. Go to the Control Panel and click on Devices and Printers. Click on it to open the Devices window.

Once the Devices and Printers window open up, you will see your printer listed there. Now you have to Right Click on your printer name and then when the menu opens, see if the Use Printer Offline option is checked or not.

If it is checked, click on it to uncheck it.

5. Selecting a default printer

In the above screen, you need to click on Set As Default Printer to make sure that when you print, your system uses your specified printer. This is important in case you have multiple printers configured on your computer system.

While you are on this screen, it might also be a good idea to click on Cancel All Documents to clear the printing queue.

6. Outdated printer software – update them

Let’s say you tried all the above steps and the printer is still offline. Then this is another process you can follow to fix the issue. Sometimes your printer software doesn’t get updated automatically and needs to be done manually.

To do so, you will again need to repeat this process. Open Control Panel and click on Device Manager. In the Device Manager screen, you will see a list of hardware on the left-hand side.

Click on Printers and then right-click on your printer. Now select Update driver and wait for the process to finish.

7. Corrupt printer software – reinstall it

If you still don’t see a resolution then you need to repeat the process above. Open the Device Manager, click on Printers, and right-click on your printer name. Now select Uninstall device. This will remove the printer from your computer system.

Wait till the process is over to confirm if the printer is removed or not. Once this process is over, again visit the Devices and Printers tab.

Now you will see an option to Add a printer. Click on it and follow the step by step guide to reinstall your printer. See the image below to add a new printer.

8. VPN issues – disable it

If you using a VPN (Virtual private network), it could interfere with your printer settings. To fix this issue, try disconnecting from your VPN and see if you gain access to your printer or not.

In case you have to use the VPN, then connect your printer and your computer physically with a cable. Sometimes, you will need to contact your system administrator if you don’t have access to VPN settings.

9. Printer Spooler bug – restart it

This is a little advanced process so do follow these exact steps. Press the Windows Key and R together. Else click on the Start Menu and click on ‘Run’. In the Run windows the opens, type services.msc and click on OK.

As soon as you click on OK, you will see the following window open up. Now you will have to right-click on Printer Spooler and click on Restart. After this is done, verify if your problem has been resolved or not.

I hope this solves your printer offline issue. You may have to repeat one or more of these steps multiple times to get your issue resolved so keep at it!

Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the Founder, Senior Editor here at PrintSpoolServices blog. Apart from being a geek, he loves playing and watching football!

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